CT Dems began 2014 with 19-1 cash advantage

Connecticut’s Democratic Party raised $2.1 million through its federal account in 2013, buoyed by a roster of $10,000 donors that include the owner of the 2014 Republican convention venue, the Mohegan Tribe, and executives of companies doing business with the state. The GOP raised $528,501.

In end-of-the-year federal reports filed over the weekend, the Democrats reported raising $137,646 in December, with six donors, at least three of whom are involved in state projects, giving $10,000 each, more than the entire GOP monthly collection of $44,986.

The disparity is even greater when comparing the cash available to each party as it began 2014, when every statewide office and all five U.S. House seats are up for election: Democrats had a 19-1 advantage.

As was the case throughout 2013, Democrats continued to expand its base of donors willing to make the maximum donations allowed by law in a calendar year: $10,000. With the new year, those donors can now give another $10,000.

The Mohegan Tribe gave $5,000 to the Democrats last month, bringing its yearly total to $10,000. A bit of that money comes indirectly from the GOP, which is paying the tribe to host the Republican nominating convention in May at the Mohegan Sun resort casino.

Four of the six Democratic donors who wrote checks for the maximum of $10,000 last month were from New York, with $20,000 from a highway construction company and $20,000 from a real-estate developer.

John F. Gizzi of North Salem, N.Y., the owner of ECCO III Enterprises, a major highway contractor in New York, Raymond Gizzi of Katonah, N.Y., the company’s president, each gave $10,000.

According to an announcement in July by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, ECCO III is a member of a group designated as a preferred developer of a project of a mixed-used development at the Stamford train station.

Dennis Penman of Orchard Park, N.Y., a real estate developer, and Morgan Ventures, which shares Penman’s address, each gave $10,000. The web site, Raising Hale, reports that Penman also is part of the Stamford joint venture. Paul F. Ciminelli, another participant, gave $2,500 last month.

Roger P. Ferris of Westport, an architect, gave $10,000, as did Marianna Kulak McCall of Westport, trustee McCall Kulak Foundation.

The GOP collected no $10,000 checks last month.

In their federal filing, the Republicans reported ending the year with $19,242 cash on hand and $8,213 in debts (including $3,000 to Mohegan Sun), giving the party a surplus of $11,209. Democrats reported $369,422 cash on hand and $7,628 in debts for a surplus of $361,794.

Each party, however, maintains state and federal accounts. When the end-of-year reports are combined, Democrats ended the year with a surplus of $474,400, compared to $25,501 – an advantage of 19 to 1.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the first-term Democratic governor, has been leading fundraising for the party, which has built an extensive organization to support the re-election of Malloy and other Democrats.

The governor has not yet created his own campaign committee, which will play a relatively minor role in fundraising. Malloy intends to accept public financing of about $6 million, which requires him to personally raise only $250,000 in donations of no more than $100 each.

In an analysis of Democratic fundraising published in November, The Mirror found that at least 30 percent of individual donors to the state party did business with the state as state contractors, recipients of state economic-development assistance, employees of regulated industries or lobbyists.

Malloy has said the party’s standard will be accepting donations allowed by law. State contractors are banned from giving to state campaigns, but they are allowed to donate to federal campaign accounts.

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